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Rick Baker airing TV ad touting environmental credentials

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Although the Sierra Club endorsed Rick Kriseman in the race for St. Petersburg mayor, Rick Baker isn’t ready to concede any ground on which candidate has the best environmental credentials.

Baker’s campaign released a television ad Wednesday touting the gains the city made on the environmental front during the former mayor’s two terms in office (2001-2010).

The ad begins with a reference to St. Pete’s designation in 2005 as Florida’s first “Green City” and includes references to how Baker expanded city parks, cleaned up Lake Maggiore, built bike trails and planted over 20,000 trees during his tenure.

Missing is any mention of Kriseman’s handling of the sewage situation, something that Baker rarely neglects to mention on the campaign trail.

In a statement, the Baker campaign makes sure not to omit that storyline.

“When he is elected in 2017, Baker will immediately work to repair the damage caused by Rick Kriseman to our sewer systems and bring our sewer system back to its previous ranking as the best maintained major city sewer system in the state of Florida,” says the Baker campaign statement.

The statement also notes that Baker invested “tens of millions of dollars in improvements to sewer plants, pipes and lift stations throughout the city to reduce the threat of overflow — resulting in St. Petersburg being named the best maintained large system in Florida,” (an honor the city received in May 2010 from Municipal Sewer and Water Magazine).

“A 30 second ad can’t change 9 years of silence on climate change and opposition to curbside recycling, ” responds Jacob Smith, the campaign manager for Kriseman. “Groups like the Sierra Club aren’t falling for it, and neither is St. Petersburg. Mayor Kriseman isn’t afraid to take action on climate change, and has pledged to uphold the Paris climate agreement. Mayor Kriseman fought offshore oil drilling alongside Charlie Crist, and under Mayor Kriseman, St. Petersburg is moving to 100% renewable energy.”

Click on the image below to watch the ad.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at

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